Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Momentum Game, Week 10: Bowl Watching Begins

Last week I conjectured about if Oregon would be upset at USC last weekend. As it turned out, that was far from being the case. I think Chip Kelly has really hit on something with his super-high-tempo offense that gets defenses completely winded by the 2nd quarter. With their schedule, I bet they win out and lock their position at the top of the BCS. Now, no slight to Auburn, but I just don't see them beating Alabama at the end of the year, which means someone will supplant them at #2. Toss-up among Alabama, Boise State and the winner of the TCU-Utah game this weekend -- pick one and you'll probably be right.

I've looked at the slate for this week's games, and I must say it's sad that the Northwestern-Penn State battle this weekend is the most interesting game in the Big Ten, BY FAR. I fully expect Michigan to drop yet another game (this time to Illinois) on the heels of their defense, currently being played by 11 replicas of Venus De Milo. But now I'm just wasting comment space that could  go into The Momentum Game. Silly me!

While fighting football indigestion, here are this week's participants in The Momentum Game:

1. Ohio State (L2 @ Wisconsin, W4 v Purdue, W4 @ Minnesota)The Buckeyes continue their version of the game "Don't Piss Us Off" by shellacking the worst team in the Big Ten. "Boom" Herron has been going nuts the last two games. I wonder, though, if they'll have blown off too much steam by next weekend, when they face Penn State in Columbus. Then again... they're playing in Columbus. Last Week: #3

2. Wisconsin (W2 v Ohio State, W1 @ Iowa, Off)Can't drop them off from the #2 spot even though they didn't play last week, simply because they don't have a loss in the last three weeks. No one else except Penn State can say they have that distinction. The best part? Their toughest remaining game might be at the Big House. LW: #2 

3. Iowa (W2 @ Michigan, L1 v Wisconsin, W4 v Michigan State)Let's face it: You don't want to see Ricky Stanzi and Kirk Ferentz angry. Losing the previous week makes them very angry indeed. LW: #5

4. Illinois (L3 @ Michigan State, W3 v Indiana, W4 v Purdue)Well, here's something we haven't seen much of lately -- a college football team that's winning big by blasting their opponents on the ground and playing decent defense. The Wrigley Field game against the 'Cats might be their toughest challenge, and I shudder at the thought that this team might go 6-2 in conference. LW: #4

5. Penn State (Off, W2 @ Minnesota, W2 v Michigan)JoePa's going for Win #400 this week against our 'Cats. In the meantime, he's unleashed the QB merry-go-round once again. Which offense will we face in Happy Valley? Answer: It doesn't matter, because both potential starters are young system quarterbacks.  LW: #7
6. Michigan State (W3 v Illinois, W1 @ Northwestern, L4 @ Iowa)
Oh, how the mighty have... well, sucked. After that embarrassment in Iowa, I wonder if the Spartans could finish the schedule unscathed. Their final game against Penn State could help determine the Big Ten Champion. LW: #1 

7. Northwestern (Off, L1 v Michigan State, W1 @ Indiana)In a game that was scored closer than it was played out, I still can only give a "W1" to the 'Cats for this last weekend. The result is a one-spot jump in the rankings. Now, if they win convincingly in Happy Valley, look for us to jump up about two spots in next week's Momentum Game. LW: #8

8. Indiana (W1 v Arkansas State, L3 @ Illinois, L1 v Northwestern)I haven't really decided whose defense is worse: the Hoosiers' or the Wolverines'. Both are the reasons why they're dwelling in the cellar right now. Indiana blew a chance to steal one at home. LW: #10

9. Michigan (L2 v Iowa, Off, L2 @ Penn State)How many Wolverines does it take to screw in a lightbulb? The answer: thirteen -- the first eleven show they don't know how to do it; the twelfth refuses to do it himself and blames the thirteenth for not showing the first eleven how to do it right; the thirteenth blames himself and screws in the lightbulb, only to break it by twisting too hard.  LW: #9

10. Purdue (W2 v Minnesota, L4 @ Ohio State, L4 @ Illinois) 
It's official -- coach Danny Hope has opened a triage unit at Ross-Ade Stadium. Athletic trainers need not apply. LW: #6

11. Minnesota (L2 @ Purdue, L2 v Penn State, L4 v Ohio State)
You know things are not going well when your last (and only) win was two months ago. For those of you keeping score at home, the Gophers have also placed themselves in ESPN's distinguished Bottom 10. Given the remaining schedule, the Golden Gophers have this reservation booked for the remainder of the year. LW: #11

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